60 Hurt At Indian Kashmir Demo: Officials

11 December 2009

Srinagar: Sixty people were hurt on Friday as police in Indian Kashmir clashed with demonstrators in the region's summer capital Srinagar, police and doctors said. Police fired tear gas and live rounds to disperse hundreds of anti-India protesters. Forty demonstrators and 20 policemen were injured, police and doctors said. Among the injured was a young boy who sustained a bullet wound. The demonstrations were in support of a strike call by hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani to protest the 'illegal occupation of land by the Indian army' in Kashmir. Geelani led thousands of Kashmiris during one of the biggest demonstrations of the day in downtown Srinagar, witnesses said. The strike closed down shops, schools and businesses. The presence of Indian soldiers in Kashmir has long been a major source of tension in the region, where a 20-year insurgency against Indian rule has claimed at least 47,000 lives. Under both the Indian and the state's own constitution, people from outside Kashmir are barred from owning land in the region. However, there are no restrictions on leasing out land. India's home minister last week said the government was prepared to withdraw a 'significant' number of troops from the restive region.